Hacking away

Today’s post documents some of the winter pruning I have been doing on my dwarf Jerusalem sage, Phlomis fruticosa ‘nana’. First off, was cutting out the plant that was severely damaged by last year’s heat dome and drought.

I can’t stand it any more. It is dead and not going to recover. Time for it to go.

I noticed something really cool as I was cutting it down. There were roots forming down at the base of the trunk – you can see them poking out of the flaky bark below. Apparently, the roots belowground died first, probably during the drought. Or, maybe some of the major xylem vessel members (the tubes inside the stem that conduct water) went completely dry during the drought and stopped functioning. But, there was enough life left in the top part of the plant that it formed roots and tried to establish itself back down into the soil. Too bad I didn’t notice earlier. Maybe I could have saved it. Oh well. It is too dry and crispy now. Off with it’s head.

Heading back to the house, we go by the original dwarf Jerusalem sage in the front rock garden. This is the plant from which all of the others originated. It was a little cold that morning, so the leaves are curled up. Off to the right, you see the orange, 5 gallon bucket that I use for weeding and for hauling mulch and rocks. Gardening secrets exposed!

Now, heading back to the plant that was damaged by the snow back in December. The main stem is cracked and several branches broken.

Let’s see what can be done.

Before (left) you can see how big this plant was compared to my loppers – the main stem is several inches thick. It had cracked down low, so I needed to prune back hard, almost completely down to the soil line.

After (right), I found a few new sprouts down near the base of the plant. I decided to leave them in place to see if they will regrow and hopefully form a nicely shaped, new bush in the future. Oh, and look! I uncovered a prickly pear cactus (back against the siding) that I had somehow forgotten about as the dwarf Jerusalem sage got bigger and covered it up.

I had so many branches left over, I decided to jab a few in the ground to see if they would root before it becomes really dry in the garden later this spring. I don’t think they will, but I am trying it anyway.

3/12/2022 to 3/22/2022: Lowest temperature for period = 31°F, highest = 68°F. Humidity = 88-90%. 1.8 inches of rain total.

Garden notes: Spring has arrived. Crocus, snowdrops, and winter aconite are mostly done. Scilla (S. sibirica) and early blooming daffodil varieties/Narcissus species are starting or peaking.

Garden chores accomplished: Weeding